What I Write



Click on Covers for Excerpts and More

9/29/2017

Hope and Kindness #MFRWauthor

Words to live by. As I thought about this week's post,  I heard voices. No, not the voices of a crazy person. 

First there was my grandmother's soft, but stern, admonition that, "If you can't say something good, don't say anything." Which is one of the reasons why I won't discuss politics (from either side), or review a book if it is so poorly written I couldn't find any redeeming factors.

Then, there was my father. "Do onto others as you would have them do onto you." Now that could be taken as an old country warning not to cross someone, or positive words of hope--the belief that if you treat people well, they will respond in kind. He would help a friend get their crop in from the field or don an Indian-pack to help a neighbor fight a brush fire.
Before the days of ubiquitous cell phones, he changed tires for women or elderly couples stranded on the side of the road and asked nothing in return. He just hoped that if one of his needed help, that someone would step up.



Over the years I've helped with what for me was a simple service, usually with a "You're welcome, I'm just returning a favor once done me. Shoveling a path to a neighbor's door so they could get to the street (or the ambulance team in) or helping the booth next to you at a street fair set up a recalcitrant canopy were among the methods I paid forward a kindness given me.

I still remember the joy in a "then" young writer's face when he read my edits. He couldn't afford to pay for any help, so no repayment at least in earthly coin was expected. My notes were preface with "It's your story. These are suggestions to toss or use as you will." That simple accommodation made his day. He read the suggestions and his mother later told me he used every one, that they made a dramatic difference. I don't know if he ever published the story, but at that point it time it was enough to pass along the knowledge.

Of course there is the other interpretation of "do onto others" that is not so positive, when trust is not proven out. That emotion rose recently as I looked at the results of a major contest. Not one but two of my books made it past the first round and since I was with a publisher (who urged us to support each other) and active in several groups (where we were supposed to help each other) I had hopes that because there was a relatively small field I had a chance to move onto the next round. After all, of all those people I helped promote, those who when asked for votes in other contests received them, at least a few of them might have the integrity to return the favor.

You can guess what's next. Even after I lowered myself to ASK FOR HELP, the response was more than disappointing. Neither book made it to the finals. Their support could be counted on less than one hand. Will I continue to pay it forward and give help when others ask? Right now I don't want to. In fact I don't want to write ever again. But the reality is, I will hear my ancestors' voices and will.



What's your words to live by and why? Share if you care to and visit the other posts in the challenge. ~till next time, may hope and kindness be yours. Helen
 



10 comments:

  1. Great words to live by. I'm sorry about your painful experience with the lack of support from others. Authors can be extremely supportive in some areas, and not supportive at all in others. I've shared, tweeted, posted, and championed the work of others, only to hear crickets chirping when I announce a new release. Sadly, it happens. We always have the choice whether to sink or rise. I hope you rise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. glad to know others have had experience with one way support. love the "heard crickets." Thanks for sharing.

      Delete
  2. I had a similar experience with one of those voting contests, Helen. I've decided they're not really in sync with how I choose to run my business (no street team here, not yet anyway) so if I move on to the finals, great, and if I don't, that's okay too.

    But if you ever need a vote, hit me up! I'll vote for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Voting contests are by definition popularity contests so I don't usually participate. And definitely not one where you have to pay big dollars to enter. The one noted was a one-off due to special circumstances so I don't anticipate doing more. But thanks for the offer.

      Delete
  3. Aww Helen, sorry about that. I've never participated in contests, but if I see an author I "know" asking for help, I happily click a link and place my vote.

    All very good words to live by, and they are lessons I try to pass on to my own kids.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your comment made me think of the now "oldies" song, Teach Your Children Well.

      Delete
  4. Thanks for stopping by. It seems the contest comment is resonating. Thanks for stopping by.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I guess this goes to prove that nothing works all the time. Still, "Pay it forward" is really just a variation of the Golden Rule, which is wise and moral even if others don't always follow it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From everyone's comments and posts, an awful lot of us grew up with and still honor the Golden Rule. At least as a person. Our characters? That can be another story.

      Delete
  6. I'm sorry about the contest, but I think karma comes around when people treat others badly. It sounds like you had awesome family members and great examples to model your life after!

    ReplyDelete